LANSING, Mich. — Recognizing the importance of learning continuity planning in the wake of the COVID-19 school closures, Michigan Virtual today announced the creation of the Michigan Virtual Learning Continuity Work Group. The Work Group, composed of 21 education experts will help plan for the “new normal” and accelerate the adoption of innovative teaching models that support students learning remotely and online.
“Educators need to quickly come together to make plans to prepare for learning continuity and new delivery models during this emergency which could impact the 2020-2021 school year,” said Jamey Fitzpatrick, President and CEO of Michigan Virtual, Michigan’s leading voice in online education as a nonprofit organization with more than 20 years of experience. “Our goal is to provide a framework of practical recommendations to school district and state leaders on developing instructional strategies that ensure students’ learning continues.”
The expert panel supports three critical areas for Michigan:
- React to potential ideas, policies, and guidance for school leaders and policymakers around remote and online learning, access, and equity issues.
- Identify and create recommended strategies for leaders to consider as they implement remote and online learning.
- Explore new scalable delivery models that enable effective anytime, anyplace and any pace teaching and learning.
The Work Group is co-chaired by two recognized leaders in Michigan education, Dr. David Richards, former superintendent of Fraser Public Schools and coordinator of the Michigan Competency Consortium and Dr. John VanWagoner, superintendent of Alpena Public Schools. Both individuals have extensive leadership experience with personalized learning and the systemic shift towards a blended learning environment that supports online learning.
“The Work Group represents a great cross-section of leaders with expertise that will guide our thinking about how to assist local school districts in transitioning to new models of instruction,” said Dr. Richards. “I am optimistic Michigan’s school community will rise to the challenge this crisis has presented to us. We will look back at this time in history as a turning point for the implementation of flexible delivery models that enable effective anytime, any place, and any pace teaching and learning.”
“Due to the COVID-19 emergency, our students, parents, and educators are living through a surreal time in our state’s history,” said Dr. VanWagoner. “We are racing to find practical strategies and tactics to help our system of public education respond in thoughtful ways that benefit our children.”
In response to the crisis, Michigan Virtual continues to develop and share a variety of support services to help students, parents and educators make the transition to remote learning, including:
- Free — online “how-to” training for teachers,
- Free — statewide access to digital content for students,
- Free — resources on web accessibility and supporting students with disabilities
- Free — access to a statewide learning discussion board and community on Facebook
The Michigan Virtual Learning Continuity Work Group members:
Mr. Jamey Fitzpatrick, CEO/President, Michigan Virtual
Dr. David Richards, President, Core2Edge, LLC, Co-Chair
Dr. John VanWagoner, Superintendent, Alpena Public Schools, Co-Chair
Dr. Jeff Bush, Principal, Kent Innovation High School at Kent ISD
Mr. Steve Carlson, Principal, Sandusky Jr/Sr High School
Ms. Anupam Chugh, Manager, Instructional Technology, Wayne RESA
Dr. Kelly Coffin, Assistant Superintendent, Traverse Bay Area ISD
Mr. Christopher Davidson, Superintendent, Public Schools of Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw
Mr. Steve Dickie, Teacher and Instructional Technology Coordinator, Divine Child Catholic High School
Mr. Ben Gilpin, Principal, Warner Elementary School – Western School District
Ms. Amy Gwizdz, Technology Instructional Coach, Dearborn Public Schools
Dr. Gerald Hill, Superintendent, West Bloomfield School District
Mr. Andy Mann, Director – Director, Regional Educational Media Center (REMC) – Muskegon ISD
Ms. Gianna Mrozek, Assistant Principal, Oxford Virtual Academy
Dr. Sarah Pazur, Director of School Leadership, FlexTech High Schools
Dr. Beth Rayl, Chief Academic Officer, Plymouth-Canton Community Schools
Ms. Patricia Sattler, Principal, Mercy High School
Ms. Kelly Tillman, Teacher and Technology Teacher Leader, Geisler Middle School – Walled Lake Consolidated Schools
Dr. Christopher Timmis, Superintendent, Dexter Community Schools
Ms. Monique Uzelac, Director WAVE Alternative Education Program – Washtenaw ISD
Ms. Carrie Wozniak, Superintendent, Fraser Public Schools